The Future of Workforce Planning: How Not to Be Left Behind
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 3.2 million Americans quit their jobs in January 2018. This stat doesn’t reflect layoffs—just people who voluntarily left their employment, many for other opportunities. When broken down by industry, leisure/hospitality and professional services were 1-2, respectively, in the number of quits. And these numbers are consistent over the past year …
Turnover is a fact of life for businesses and their human resources departments. So is employee engagement. And so are productivity goals. Workforce planning isn’t just about hiring the employees you need to be successful, but also about giving those employees the chance to thrive and contribute to their careers as well as to the organization’s bottom line.
Increasingly, technology is driving workforce planning, from hiring to onboarding to communication to employee development. Companies that fail to embrace technology will find themselves at a disadvantage, not only with the productivity of their employees, but also against competitors already ahead of the curve. Here’s a look at the future of workforce planning and how organizations can keep themselves from being left behind.
A Holistic Approach to the Employee Experience
For decades, the relationship between workers and their employers often was a “do as your told and like it” attitude—employees were given jobs and expected to accept their status. The pendulum has swung far in the other direction: Workers (especially millennial workers) unhappy with their jobs won’t hesitate to find other employment, even if it means being unemployed for several weeks. The employee experience has evolved, and continues to evolve, to something more holistic, encompassing every aspect of someone’s engagement with their employer, from before they are interviewed until after they leave, and everything in between. A balanced approach to workforce planning will align the holistic employee experience with business goals so that your employees’ needs are served as well as your own. When that alignment occurs, great things can happen.
Using Data, but Not Drowning in It
The technology element of workforce planning brings data into the process. A single employee produces reams of data during his or her relationship with your organization. Salary, productivity, employee satisfaction, interactions, and more can be measured. Leveraging this data delivers important findings that propel workforce planning. For example, which employees hired from which sources and making a certain salary are most productive? Or communicate their needs and goals with their supervisors the best? Trends, risks, gaps, and opportunities can be identified from the data.
The challenge, however, is the amount of data that a single employee generates, multiplied to however big your workforce is. HR departments can find themselves bogged down in the numbers, particularly, if they are using spreadsheets and other manual process to try to keep track of everything. For example, if you want to track a certain department’s employee effectiveness, you need to know who exactly is in the department—but without a good org chart, that can be difficult or, worse yet, inaccurate. As an organization grows, data becomes more complex, and the number of hours required and the chance for error increase.
Workforce Planning Technology to the Rescue
Modern workforce planning technology provides a highly visible platform to serve up data and inform the decisions you should be making about employee satisfaction and development, productivity, and team success. Dynamic organizational chart solutions offer a great example of technology taking workforce planning to the next level. An interactive, easy-to-use org chart accurately defines who is working for which department, who their supervisor is, who is on their team, and what their role is. In this way, workforce planning becomes easier because you truly know who your workforce is. From there, more data can be added on top of the org chart, and important decisions can be made.
The Future Is Now
People are a company’s greatest asset—a truth that will take on more urgency in the future as your workforce continues to demand the most from the employee experience. Yet, as a company expands, that experience could be easily, and unintentionally, pushed aside. When organizations stop understanding their employees, those employees can become disenchanted and, ultimately, less productive. Technology is key not only to understanding your workforce, but also to> predicting where your organizational needs are headed as you continue to grow. The future is now, and you’ll discover that by attending to current employees’ engagement and enthusiasm, they will be more likely to accompany you into that future.
What workforce planning technology do you use, and how has it helped?